This is part two of a two post series celebrating the one year anniversary of both Brew Trek and Strange Brewing. Part one can be found here.
After the lengthy interview with Tim and John on the Wednesday during Craft Beer Week, and the one year anniversary week for Strange Brewing, I found the wife chatting up a new beer comrade. While I was enjoying the palaver with Strange Brewing’s founders, she had struck up a conversation with a fellow patron about craft beer culture. The vibe flowed strong that night, reinforcing my observations of Strange on previous visits. Everyone from the brewers, to the bar staff, to the patrons were talking freely about craft beer and how good it was to be drinking beer in Colorado, and especially that night at Strange.
As the night wound on, I ended up meeting Tim’s dad, Tom Myers, a very likable guy, who furthered my knowledge of the brewery. First off, he related that the bar staff are all volunteers, and work for the enjoyment of helping out Tim and John, as well as their love of craft beer. I can attest to their friendliness and efficiency in delivering the beery goodness; if the place isn’t too crazy, they will go out of their way to check on each and every punter to make sure they have what they need.
Secondly, he told of the brewing intern they’ve taken on, who has some pretty good brewing chops of his own, having won a gold medal in last year’s AHA competition. The guys were gracious enough to let him brew a batch of his own on their equipment, and then let him have a tap to serve it on.
By the time we had finished conversing, the belly was grumbling for something more than just beer. On a normal night we’d be tiding over any hunger with the copious amounts of peanuts and pretzels offered, but this night we were lucky to enjoy some pizza from Hops and Pie. As part of the week long celebration, various eateries from around town came each day to feed the revelers; besides Hops and Pie, Steuben’s and Kona Grille provided the eats on different nights. The buzz I’d been hearing about H&P is well founded, their artisanal pizzas are incredible, using very fresh ingredients, and the crust impressed the wife who is on a quest for the perfect dough for her own pizzas.
The Black Dots and Lizzie Huffman provided the soundtrack for the night, their setup crammed against the garage door that fronts the tasting room. Lizzie Huffman’s acoustical musings were better suited for conversation, while Black Dots livened up the mood with a straight forward alternative punch that reminded us of what we listened to back in the late Eighties; kind of Pixies meet The Replacements.
As the evening wound down for us and the levels in our second or third pints of the night decreased, we had one more conversation with a woman, Hanna, who had recently emigrated from the Czech Republic. The wife, being the tireless promoter of this blog, gave her the Brew Trek URL, and called me over to talk. I found a fellow hop head in Hanna, each of us reminiscing on where we had lived in Europe, and agreeing on how much hoppier the pilsners are over there, than what is imported to the US, especially in the small town breweries dotting the countrysides. As we parted, she thanked us for the tip on my blog since some friends of hers were coming over from Europe and she wanted to take them to places less known.
With the place quickly becoming standing room only, and being pleasantly satisfied on both the liquid and solid intakes of the evening, we said our goodbyes and headed out.
As we made our way home, I was sure that we’d be attending many Strange celebrations in the years to come. I also came away thankful for the insightful conversation with Tim and John, getting a better understanding of craft beer culture from the brewer/owner perspective. I’ve seen a number of breweries and brew pubs come and go over the past 25 years; lost names like Hubcap and Timberline come to mind here in Colorado. And while success can’t be guaranteed for any new business, the relatively small number of failed breweries over the years points to a vibrant industry that has nowhere to go but up. With this fact in mind, the quality of their product, and the passion they have for craft beer, I’m sure I’ll be enjoying Strange Brewing’s beers for decades to come.
Update: I meant to post the Craft Beer Week video mentioned at the end of the interview when I first posted this article, but forgot. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.